Chicago Sun-Times

Many happy returns: Manning garners All-NFL honors

| 3 Comments | No TrackBacks

Devin Hester had a forgettable season as a return man but that doesn't mean the Bears are coming out of 2008 empty-handed.

Danieal Manning has gotten some props.

While the Bears were shut out in the All-Pro balloting done by the Associated Press, the most widely used list, he earned first team All-NFL honors in balloting done by Pro Football Weekly and the Pro Football Writers of America.

Manning was chosen as the kickoff returner, the only Bear to make the list. When it came to all-conference teams, outside linebacker Lance Briggs joined Manning on the NFC squad selected by panelists.

The All-Pro team only includes one spot for a returner and that list was topped by the New York Jets' Leon Washington, followed by Tampa Bay's Clifton Smith. Manning didn't receive a single vote despite leading the league with a 29.7-yard average on kickoff returns. He took over primary duties from Devin Hester during the fourth quarter of the Nov. 16 game at Green Bay. Smith wound up getting the NFC's Pro Bowl nod.

Here is how All-Pro voting broke down at kickoff returner:

Leon Washington, NY Jets, 19; Clifton Smith, Tampa Bay, 16; Leodis McKelvin, Buffalo, 4; Josh Cribbs, Cleveland, 4; Darren Sproles, San Diego, 2; Johnnie Lee Higgins, Oakland, 1; Roscoe Parrish, Buffalo, 1; Justin Miller, Oakland, 1; Reggie Bush, New Orleans, 1.

While the club has made no official announcement, Manning is expected to open 2009 as the kickoff returner with the Bears hoping that Hester can rediscover his magic as a punt returner. He never found any comfort level and averaged just 6.2 yards. Even with Hester not meeting expectations, Dave Toub's special teams unit finished the season ranked eighth.

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://blogs.suntimes.com/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/18746

3 Comments

"While the club has made no official announcement, Manning is expected to open 2009 as the kickoff returner with the Bears hoping that Hester can rediscover his magic as a punt returner. He never found any comfort level and averaged just 6.2 yards. Even with Hester not meeting expectations, Dave Toub's special teams unit finished the season ranked eighth."

Well, that's what pre-season is for. You put Hester on returns in August and see if he can rediscover his magic (enough of this "fair catch" BS). If he does, you immediately return him to both PR and KR duties while giving him a complementary role at receiver. If he doesn't, you let D. Manning (congrats to him on All-NFL Honors btw) handle the KR portion while Rashied Davis, Earl Bennett or maybe a draft selection handle PR duties. Hester was downright terrible on returns last year and the last thing you'd wanna do is keep him on PR when more able players can step up and do a better job.

I like the idea of starting Manning as the kick returner and Hester as the punt returner. Hester will regain his mojo and he is simply the best in the league when is mojo is on.

Keep Manning as nickle as well, he did a great job in that position and would continue to thrive.

Congrats Manning you deserve the kudos!!

Devin Hester is deadly force on kickoff return and punt return, but i think his biggest problem has become his decision making. The way I see it is that he is always looking to make a spectacular return, one that would make people just go nuts with exicitement. He just needs to find the seem and run, because teams have figured him out, they know he has great awareness,accelration,and speed, so they pin him to the sideline or kick it out of the endzone. Hester is fun to watch but he has to stop being passive on his decions, just find the whole and run, everything else will take care of itself.

Leave a comment

Twitter updates

Categories

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on January 15, 2009 12:20 PM.

Forte the league's most valuable running back? Orton matches a QB in conference title game was the previous entry in this blog.

Four Down Territory, Jan. 15: Bears in prime position for compensatory draft pick(s) is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.